Festus Akinbusoye, Bedfordshire’s Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner candidate, has welcomed the announcement that Bedfordshire Police has been bolstered by an additional 54 officers since the Government launched the major police recruitment drive over a year ago.
The addition of these new officers brings the total number of police across Bedfordshire up to 1,257 meaning there are now more frontline officers on our streets to keep the public safe. This is the highest total headcount of Bedfordshire police officers on record.
Commenting, PCC candidate, Festus Akinbusoye said:
“Getting more police officers into our communities is one of the people’s priorities, and so I am delighted that in just over one year, the Government has already delivered an extra 54 officers across Bedfordshire Police area. We now have more officers than we had in 2010 or at any point. It was my privilege to work alongside many of our new recruits as a Bedfordshire Police Special Constable until a few months ago. ”
Since the launch of the Government’s recruitment campaign one year ago, a total of 6,620 extra officers have joined police forces across England and Wales.
These statistics confirm that the Government remains fully on track to meet its manifesto commitment of recruiting 20,000 extra officers by 2023, and has hit the target of recruiting 6,000 new officers by March 2021 well ahead of schedule.
The latest figures also show that the police workforce nationally is now more diverse than ever before, with 10.2 percent of new recruits identifying as Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic. In 2016, Bedfordshire Police was the third worst force in the country for diversity and representation. It is now third best ahead of Greater Manchester and Leicestershire thanks to the concerted effort of the force to be more representative of the local community.
This recruitment drive is at the centre of the Government’s commitment to back the police with more resources, powers and support to keep the public and their communities safe.
Alongside the recruitment campaign, the Government has announced the second round of the Safer Streets Fund, backed by £20 million of new money, to crack down on neighbourhood crimes that blight our communities. This funding will enable PCCs and Local Authorities to make crime cutting interventions in residential areas to ensure people feel safe in their communities. Almost £900,000 from this fund was allocated for safer street projects in Luton and Bedford.
Other steps to support frontline police officers in Bedfordshire include an above national average budget increase which will see it rise from a record £121m in 2020/21 to another record cash sum of £129.5m in 2021/22, boosting police pay by 2.5 per cent, equivalent to a constable receiving an extra £1,100; and enshrining a new police covenant into law, which will offer enhanced support and protection for frontline officers.
Commenting further, Conservative PCC candidate, Mr. Akinbusoye said:
“I am fully committed to making sure the benefit of this record number of officers is felt in all parts of our county if elected as Bedfordshire's next Police and Crime Commissioner. Every one of these new officers will make an enormous difference in helping to cut crime and keep people safe – and I know that more will follow as the third tranche of new recruits is due to be announced.
“By backing our police with increased funding, powers and resources they need, we are keeping the public and our communities safe, so that residents in both our urban and rural areas can live their lives free from the fear of crime. This is a much welcome announcement and I look forward to the government resolving the longstanding unfair funding formula that sees Bedfordshire being funded as a rural area despite major demands on our officers.”